Flaw in popular Web analytics plug-in exposes WordPress sites to hacking

WordPress site owners using the WP-Slimstat plug-in installed should upgrade it to the latest version immediately in order to fix a critical vulnerability, security researchers warn.

WP-Slimstat, a Web analytics plug-in for WordPress, has been downloaded over 1.3 million times and is highly rated by users. The plug-in allows site owners to track returning visitors and registered users, monitor JavaScript events, detect intrusions, analyze email campaigns and more.

Researchers from Web security firm Sucuri found a vulnerability that stems from weak cryptographic key generation in WP-Slimstat versions 3.9.5 and lower. If attackers can determine the secret key used by the plug-in, they can launch blind SQL injection attacks that enable them to read sensitive information from the site’s database.
MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: Free security tools you should try

That sensitive information can include usernames, password hashes, and, in certain configurations, WordPress secret keys that if exposed, can lead to a total takeover of the affected sites, Sucuri senior vulnerability researcher Marc-Alexandre Montpas said in a blog post Tuesday.

The plug-in’s secret key is generated by running the MD5 hash algorithm over a timestamp that corresponds to the plug-in’s installation on the website. Guessing when the plug-in was installed might appear to be hard, but it’s not.

An attacker can determine the year when the site was created, which is likely the same year when the plug-in was installed, by looking at the Internet Archive or other sources online. Once that part of the timestamp is determined, there are 30 million possible values left for the rest of it.

Testing all those values and comparing the resulting signatures with signatures used on the site can be done in 10 minutes using most modern CPUs, Montpas said.

“This is a dangerous vulnerability, you should update all of your websites using this plugin as soon as possible,” the researcher said.

The WP-Slimstat developers released version 3.9.6 last week in order to address the issue.

“The security of our users’ data is our top priority, and for this reason we tightened our SQL queries and made our encryption key harder to guess,” they wrote in the plug-in’s changelog. “If you are using a caching plugin, please flush its cache so that the tracking code can be regenerated with the new key.”


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Sensor tech makes predicting the future easier to do

Internet of Things industrial applications designed to forecast failure gain adoption

LAS VEGAS – We no longer need seers, oracles and psychics to tell us about the future. The declining cost of sensor technology and the availability of cloud-based analytical platforms is making predictive analytics accessible to every industry and most products.

These technologies give insights into how products are performing. Sensors record vibration, temperature, pressure and voltage, among other conditions, and provide data for real-time analysis. Sensors can help lead to discovery of faulty parts in products weeks before they actually fail.

Initial deployments of sensors have been in large and expensive industrial platforms, such as electrical generation systems and jet engines. In time, sensors connected to analytical platforms will be found in nearly every product.

The belief is that this technology will make machinery and systems more reliable. Sensors and analytics will alert users and vendors to problems days, weeks and months before a problem becomes visible. This insight into performance will also significantly reduce unplanned failures.

“We will know more about when they are going to fail, and how they fail,” said Richard Soley, CEO of the Object Management Group, a nonprofit technology standards consortium.

Businesses will also benefit from learning how customers are using their products, which will shape how products are made, Soley said.

Predictive analytics capability in industrial applications is not a new concept. Big machinery has long used sensors. What is new is the convergence of three major trends that will make deployment ubiquitous, say people working in this area.

First, sensor technology is declining in price as it gets smaller and more efficient; second, wireless communication systems have become reliable and global; third, is that cloud-based platforms that can be used for analytics and development are emerging rapidly. Collectively, these trends underpin the Internet of Things.

At IBM’s big conference, InterConnect, this week, the University of South Carolina was showing off a sensor-equipped gear box on an Apache helicopter that is part of study for the U.S. Army. There were four sensors on the gear box collecting temperature and vibration data.

One of the big savings in the use of this technology, aside from predicting failure, is correctly planning maintenance. Many maintenance activities may be unnecessary, wasteful and can introduce new problems.

“If you can reduce improper maintenance processes and improve the identification of faulty maintenance, you can directly impact safety,” said Retired Maj. Gen. Lester Eisner, with South Carolina’s National Guard, who is deputy director of the university’s Office of Economic Engagement.

In another area, National Instruments has been working with utilities to deploy its sensor technology. Today, many utilities have employees who collect data directly off machines, which is something of a shotgun approach, said Stuart Gillen, principal marketing manager at the company and a speaker at the IBM conference.

All it takes is one or two “catches” – preventing a failure in a large system – to justify the cost of deploying technology that can take in all the data from these systems and provide a more targeted approach to maintaining them, Gillen said.

National Instruments is working with IBM and its recently launched Internet of Things capability, which is part of IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform. This platform gives developers the ability to create new ways of working with the machine data.

There is much optimism that this technology will reduce equipment failures. Having the ability to see a little further into the future and reducing the need to rely on the benefit of hard-learned hindsight is the goal. But no one is predicting that this technology will eliminate failure all together.

“There are a lot of variables” that can contribute to equipment failure, said Sky Matthews, the CTO of IBM’s Internet of Things effort, but this technology “can certainly dramatically reduce them.”

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600-210 Implementing Cisco Service Provider Mobility UMTS Networks (SPUMTS)

Which organization developed and maintains the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System?

A. 3GPP2

Answer: B


Which two services does GPRS support? (Choose two.)

C. Video Calling

Answer: A,B


Which part of the OSI model contains the Signalling Connection Control Part protocol?

A. Data link layer
B. Network layer
C. Transport layer
D. Application layer
E. Presentation layer

Answer: B


What two routing keys can be used to filter SS7 messages? (Choose two.)


Answer: A,B


In MGT-based routing, which option is the GT address format of the called party?

A. E.212
B. E.164
C. E.412
D. E.214
E. E.216

Answer: D


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600-501 Integrating Business Applications with Network Programmability (NPIBA)

Which option best describes explicit routing?

A. MPLS Traffic Engineering
B. destination-based routing
C. link-state routing
D. Shortest Path First
E. static routes

Answer: A


What is the purpose of Address Resolution Protocol in an IP data network?

A. Given a known MAC address, Address Resolution Protocol discovers the relevant IP address.
B. Given a known IP address, Address Resolution Protocol discovers the relevant MAC address.
C. Given a known URL, Address Resolution Protocol discovers the relevant IP address.
D. Given a known IP address, Address Resolution Protocol discovers the relevant URL.

Answer: B


Which factor limits the maximum number of IEEE 802.1Q VLANs to 4096?

A. the length of the VLAN ID field of the 802.1Q frame
B. the length of the Tag Protocol ID field of the 802.1Q frame
C. the size of the TCAM memory of the Layer 2 switch
D. the size of the VLAN table of the Layer 2 switch

Answer: A


Refer to the exhibit.

What is the correct way to summarize these different routes into a single route?


Answer: C


What is the default administrative distance for a static route?

A. 0
B. 255
C. 1
D. 110
E. 254

Answer: C


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642-737 Implementing Advanced Cisco Unified Wireless Security (IAUWS) v2.0

Which statement describes the major difference between PEAP and EAP-FAST client

A. EAP-FAST requires a backend AAA server, and PEAP does not.
B. EAP-FAST is a Cisco-only proprietary protocol, whereas PEAP is an industry-standard
C. PEAP requires a server-side certificate, while EAP-FAST does not require certificates.
D. PEAP authentication protocol requires a client certificate, and EAP-FAST requires a secure

Answer: C


Which one best describes the EAP Identity Request frame when a wireless client is connecting to
a Cisco WLC v7.0-based AP WLAN?

A. sourced from the Cisco ACS Server to the client
B. sourced from the client to the Cisco ACS Server
C. sourced from the WLC to the client
D. sourced from the client to the WLC
E. sourced from the AP to the client
F. sourced from the client to the AP

Answer: C


What are the four packet types that are used by EAP? (Choose four.)

A. EAP Type
B. EAP Request
C. EAP Identity
D. EAP Response
E. EAP Success
F. EAP Failure
G. EAP Authentication

Answer: B,D,E,F


When a supplicant and AAA server are configured to use PEAP, which mechanism is used by the
client to authenticate the AAA server in Phase One?

B. shared secret keys
C. digital certificate

Answer: C


Which EAP types are supported by MAC 10.7 for authentication to a Cisco Unified Wireless

A. LEAP and EAP-Fast only
B. EAP-TLS and PEAP only
C. LEAP, EAP-TLS, and PEAP only

Answer: D


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600-502 Developing with Cisco Network Programmability (NPDEV)

A stock brokerage firm requires that all trades are executed quickly with a minimal amount of delay
due to network latency.
Which software requirement is recommended as part of a business requirement?

A. The application shall process trades as soon as possible with no further delay.
B. The application should provide high-availability features to continue trading activities even in
case of a software or hardware failure.
C. The application shall maintain the state of all active network links in real time and prioritize
traffic flows that belong to trading activities on the links with lowest latency.
D. The application should set the latency attribute to zero on packets that belong to the a trading

Answer: C


You must develop an SDN application that meets these specifications. The solution must manage
devices through a centralized controller to configure access control lists. The solution will monitor
traffic at a packet level to determine which packets are coming from known rogue applications
and/or devices. Identified traffic will be used as the basis to create new ACLs to be deployed back
onto the network devices. The identification and provisioning steps should take no more than 100
Which three design options must you consider to develop an SDN application that meets these
specifications? (Choose three.)

A. choice of programming and scripting language
B. choice of service set
C. choice of transport protocol
D. choice of deployment model
E. use of security and TLS
F. hardware platforms involved

Answer: A,B,D


Which programming language and Cisco onePK Service Set is required for an application that
performs at the packet level?

A. Java with Utility Service Set
B. REST with Element Service Set
C. Ruby with Routing Service Set
D. Python with Routing Service Set
E. REST with Utility Service Set
F. C with Data Path Service Set
G. Java with Developer Service Set

Answer: F


An application that leverages the Cisco onePK Data Path Service Set requires that TCP frames
are inspected and discarded under a set of conditions. The sender is not informed of the discard.
Which action does this scenario describe?

A. bypass or offload
B. DSCP marking
C. drop
D. purge
E. L4 redirect

Answer: D


You must document that before your application applies any configuration changes to a device,
the application runs those changes through a set of predefined, automated consistency tests
called “ACT-CHECK10″. The application applies changes only after the test has completed without
Which statement about these requirements is true?

A. The system should test the configuration before applying it.
B. After applying the configuration changes the user should ping the device to ensure that
everything still works.
C. The system should run consistency checks prior to applying configuration changes.
D. Prior to applying the configuration changes to the device, the system shall run consistency test
ACT_CHECK10, and proceed to applying changes only if no errors and/or warnings are reported
by the test.
E. The system should call the function app.ACT_CHECK10(“config-changes.txt”) method and
capture the output. The system shall than go through the output to count the number of ERRORS
and WARNINGS reported by the test. If the total number of ERRORS and WARNINGS is equal to
0, the system shall proceed to run app.ApplyChanges(“config-changes.txt”).

Answer: D


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300-135 Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks (TSHOOT)


A network administrator is troubleshooting an EIGRP connection between RouterA, IP address, and RouterB, IP address Given the debug output on RouterA, which two
statements are true? (Choose two.)

A. RouterA received a hello packet with mismatched autonomous system numbers.
B. RouterA received a hello packet with mismatched hello timers.
C. RouterA received a hello packet with mismatched authentication parameters.
D. RouterA received a hello packet with mismatched metric-calculation mechanisms.
E. RouterA will form an adjacency with RouterB.
F. RouterA will not form an adjacency with RouterB.

Answer: D,F


When troubleshooting an EIGRP connectivity problem, you notice that two connected EIGRP
routers are not becoming EIGRP neighbors. A ping between the two routers was successful. What
is the next thing that should be checked?

A. Verify that the EIGRP hello and hold timers match exactly.
B. Verify that EIGRP broadcast packets are not being dropped between the two routers with the
show ip EIGRP peer command.
C. Verify that EIGRP broadcast packets are not being dropped between the two routers with the
show ip EIGRP traffic command.
D. Verify that EIGRP is enabled for the appropriate networks on the local and neighboring router.

Answer: D


Refer to the exhibit.

How would you confirm on R1 that load balancing is actually occurring on the default-network

A. Use ping and the show ip route command to confirm the timers for each default network resets
to 0.
B. Load balancing does not occur over default networks; the second route will only be used for
C. Use an extended ping along with repeated show ip route commands to confirm the gateway of
last resort address toggles back and forth.
D. Use the traceroute command to an address that is not explicitly in the routing table.

Answer: D


Which IPsec mode will encrypt a GRE tunnel to provide multiprotocol support and reduced

B. multipoint GRE
C. tunnel
D. transport

Answer: D


Which three features are benefits of using GRE tunnels in conjunction with IPsec for building siteto-
site VPNs? (Choose three.)

A. allows dynamic routing over the tunnel
B. supports multi-protocol (non-IP) traffic over the tunnel
C. reduces IPsec headers overhead since tunnel mode is used
D. simplifies the ACL used in the crypto map
E. uses Virtual Tunnel Interface (VTI) to simplify the IPsec VPN configuration

Answer: A,B,D



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220-802 CompTIA A+ Certification Exam (220-802)

A technician is creating a batch script that auto-assigns a particular drive share to a drive letter
upon login. Which of the following commands can accomplish this?


Answer: A
Reference: http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/enus/

An office of 25 computers is interested in employing a file server, network shares, and print server
functionality. Which of the following network setups would be BEST suited for this situation?

A. Ad-hoc
B. Workgroup
C. Domain
D. Token ring

Answer: C
Reference: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-au/windows-vista/what-is-the-difference-between-adomain-

Which of the following terms BEST describes the software or hardware used to manage virtual

A. Hypervisor
B. Cloud Server Manager
C. Supervisor
D. Virtual Disk Manager

Answer: A
Reference: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/08/01/hypervisor-101-a-lookhypervisor-

A technician is required to change a setting for HKEY_Local_Machine. Which of the following
would the technician use to change this?

B. WEP setup

Answer: D
Reference: http://www.wikihow.com/Edit-the-Windows-Registry

Which of the following Control Panel utilities will allow a technician to change the associated file
type in a Windows XP machine?

A. Folder options
B. Administrator tools
C. Accessibility options
D. Regional and language options

Answer: A
Reference: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ht/defprogramxp.htm


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Verizon to allow opt-out from mobile ‘supercookies’

An identifier on users’ phone creates cookies that can’t be deleted

Verizon will soon allow customers to opt out of having an identifier placed on their phones that had alarmed privacy advocates due to its ability to let third parties persistently track customers.

The identifier or customer code drew concerns primarily because it created so-called “supercookies” that could not be deleted by users. Verizon customers have had the ability to opt out of the company’s advertising programs, but not out of having that identifier placed on their devices.

Now, “we have begun working to expand the opt-out to include the identifier referred to as the UIDH [unique identifier header], and expect that to be available soon,” a Verizon spokeswoman said Friday via email. She added that “Verizon never shares customer information with third parties as part of our advertising program.”

The Verizon spokeswoman did not say when exactly the opt-out would become available, though she noted that customers can change their privacy choices on the MyVerizon website.

Privacy advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation had called on Verizon to shut down the identifier program, arguing that it violated users’ privacy.

AT&T had also at one point tested its own identifier system, which it later dropped amidst privacy concerns.

One advertising company that had been exploiting the identifier, discovered by computer scientist Jonathan Mayer, was Turn. The company tracked users across the web as they visited sites like Facebook, Twitter, Walmart and WebMD, Mayer wrote in a blog post earlier this month.

“The privacy impact also goes beyond individual mobile browsers,” he said, referring to the supercookie as a “zombie cookie.” “If a Verizon customer tethered with their phone, their notebook could get stuck with the zombie value,” he said.


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Gmail users urged to change passwords after apparent attack

Hackers compromised nearly 5M Gmail passwords

Security experts are urging Gmail users to change their passwords amid reports that hackers gained access to the credentials of 5 million users of the free email service. Some password combinations have been spotted on Russian cybercrime forums.

Peter Kruse, head of the eCrime unit at CSIS Security Group in Copenhagen, told Computerworld that most of the nearly 5 million stolen Gmail passwords are about three years old, but many are still legitimate and functioning.

He said that CSIS experts suspect that several hackers worked on an endpoint compromise to exploit vulnerable network protocols.

Google did not respond to a Computerworld request for comment but has told other news outlets that it has found no evidence that their systems have been compromised.

Google’s cloud-based email service is used by individuals as well as enterprises.

Russian media outlet RIA Novosti reported that hackers have stolen and published a database containing the Google account logins and passwords to a Bitcoin Security online forum.

The database reportedly contains 4.93 million Google accounts from English, Russian and Spanish users.

Kruse said the discovery of the hack comes just days after more than 4.6 million Russian-based Mail.ru accounts and 1.25 million Yandex e-mail boxes were reportedly compromised. Yandex is the largest Russian-based search engine.


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OpenDNS Servers : Increase internet speed using OpenDNS

Broadband is considered as high speed generating internet connection. You might have not noticed but even Broadband is not able to serve you great internet speed. This is due to downloads or heavy applications such as torrent. Do you guys know the reason behind these fluctuations in speed; it is due to DNS Servers, popularly known as Domain Name Servers. The DNS is provided by your ISP. While suing heavy files, most of us have to suffer the poor internet speed. But there is a solution to this issue. You can solve the flaw by using Public DNS servers such as OpenDNS servers.

Increase internet speed using OpenDNS
OpenDNS servers or Google DNS are public platforms that allow user to enjoy excellent Internet speed. You must know about DNS Benchmark, it is a tool that allows you to check the best channel or DNSserver IP that can help in improvising internet speed. Let us study OpenDNS Servers today
Taking a step-by-step approach, we will today discuss OpenDNS Servers and by the end of the topic, you will get to know all about Open DNS and its related concepts.
What is OpenDNS Servers?

The service of Open DNS provides network security and expands the array of DNS. It adds the features such as phishing protection and optional content filtering that help your system protect itself from malicious attacks. OpenDNS servers are available in both, free and premium packages for organizations or individuals. This helps in loading pages at much efficient speed and also blocks every channel for all kind of malicious pages. Other features that you can enjoy with OpenDNS servers are:

Domain Blocking
DNS Security
Typo Correction
Botnet Protection

OpenDNS Servers
For every individual that is using default DNS that is provided by the ISP have the provision to switch to OpenDNS server. Google DNS is also quite resourceful and you must give it a try as well. OpenDNS server IP blocks all faulty files that come along-with while downloading. Usually we see that besides using Broadband, we try hard to open a web page but it takes a while to open, this problem can be solved by using open DNS server IP. Actually Open DNS have a big pool of DNS cache that helps internet to perform better.

Consider the example:
Whenever you type any domain address in your browser such as www.bloggeroutline.com, a request is sent to the IP address of searched site and hence page opens at your system. Sometimes, due to low cache size, DNS of your site is not able to fetch the page link. This is the only reason for websites showing error and not getting displayed on request sometimes. Open DNS servers help you in overcoming such errors.
OpenDNS are considered as faster than other platforms as their servers are located at all vital locations, plus it serves larger cache size.
For individual users, OpenDNS IP is available and sufficient for routinely usage of data. You can use free packages as these are good enough for regular home users. Below mentioned is the current open DNS IP that you can use to change DNS settings:

Google DNS IP addresses
IPv4: and/or
IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844

How to Change DNS setting on Mac OS

Below mentioned are the steps that can help you in changing DNS settings on Mac, take a look:

Go to System Preferences
Click at Network Icon
Unlock the pane by entering password (if necessary)
Click on Advanced Button
Click at DNS Tab
Click at + button and add DNS servers
Click Apply and then OK

How to change DNS Setting in Windows Base System

By following these steps, you can change DNS settings and add new servers.
Go the Control Panel.
Click Network and Internet, then Network and Sharing Center, and click Change adapter settings.
Select the connection for which you want to configure DNS. For example: Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection,
right click on your choice and select Properties.
Select the Networking tab. Under This connection uses the following items, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or
Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and then click Properties.
Click Advanced and select the DNS tab.
Click OK.

OpenDNS servers are best suited for today’s generation as all our routinely tasks highly depends on internet. It is hence the best medium to enjoy trouble-free usage of high performance internet.

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NTT tests 400Gbps optical technology for Internet backbone

One fiber in the core of the Internet could send the data equivalent of 600 DVDs in a second

NTT has successfully tested technology for optical Internet backbone connections that can transmit 400Gbps on a single wavelength.

Working with Fujitsu and NEC, the Japanese telecommunications giant verified the digital coherent optical transmission technology for distances of several thousand kilometers to 10,000 km. With it, a single wavelength of light can carry 400 Gbps, four times the capacity of previous systems. Each fiber can carry multiple wavelengths, and many fibers can be bundled into one cable.

The approach could more than double existing capacity to meet ever-increasing bandwidth demand, especially by heavy data users.

The technology could be used in the next generation of backbone links, which aggregate calls and data streams and send them over the high-capacity links that go across oceans and continents. The fiber in the network would stay the same, and only the equipment at either end would need to change.

While the current capacity on such links is up to 8Tbps (terabits per second) per fiber, the new technology would make a capacity of 24Tbps per fiber possible, according to NTT.

“As an example of the data size, 24 Tbps corresponds to sending information contained in 600 DVDs (4.7 GB per DVD) within a second,” an NTT spokesman wrote in an email. “The verification was done using algorithms which are ready to be implemented in CMOS circuits to show that these technologies are practically feasible.”

To compensate for distortions along the optical fiber, researchers from the consortium developed digital backward propagation signal processing with an optimized algorithm. The result of this and other research is that the amount of equipment required for transmissions over long distances can be reduced, meaning the network could consume less electricity.

“We are extremely excited to show this groundbreaking performance surpassing 100 Gbps coherent optical transmission systems,” Masahito Tomizawa, executive manager of consortium leader NTT Network Innovation Labs, wrote in an email. “This new technology maintains the stability and reliability of our current 100 Gbps solutions while at the same time dramatically improving performance.”

The consortium said it is taking steps toward commercialization of the technology on a global scale but would not say when that might happen.

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How IT is creating the ‘smart’ workplace

By deploying technologies like Wi-Fi, Wikis and WebEx, IT is leading the charge as enterprises restructure for maximum collaboration.

From pharmaceutical companies to oil and gas firms, enterprises are breaking down silos and boosting the bottom line through the expanded use of collaboration tools and technologies. And IT is leading the charge.

IT executives are becoming collaboration architects who partner with human resources, facilities, and corporate communications to remove barriers that impede collaboration. These barriers range from physical workspaces to organizational practices and processes.

The goal of unified communications is to allow anybody to engage anybody else spontaneously through instant messaging, web conferencing and videoconferencing, regardless of level, role or region. Asynchronous collaboration tools including wikis, forums, emerging knowledge and project management systems and collaboration-as-a-service platforms that enable enterprise-wide information sharing and broad participation in decisions.

Konica Minolta’s structural changes are impacting the role of IT. As remote diagnosis increasingly replaces on-site service calls for the company’s printer business, service has become a function of IT. The company has eliminated outsourcing contracts and hired more IT people. Salespeople and IT are collaborating as customer conversations now include topics such as network security, enterprise content management, document management, and changing workplace practices.

As Konica Minolta Australia evolves from an equipment vendor to an IT services provider, the company is looking to acquire small IT services companies with specialized knowledge. This infusion of expertise and broader input into decisions may provide

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Fumble-free USB 3.1 connector will be in products by year end

USB Implementers Forum says final USB 3.1 specification will be published in July

The redesigned USB connector, belonging to the USB 3.1 specification, could be in laptops and mobile devices by the end of the year.

The appealing advances in the USB 3.1 technology include faster data transfer speeds and the user-friendly Type C connector, which connect to devices on either end. Since users won’t have to worry about plug orientation, they should be less likely to have trouble fitting cables into slots, which will be an improvement over USB connectors.

USB 3.1 also boosts data-transfer speeds and cables will ultimately be able to move data at a speed of 10Gbps (bits per second). That’s an improvement from the 5Gbps transfer rate for the current USB 3.0 connector, which is in most laptops that ship today. The faster speeds open usage of USB 3.1 connectors to monitors, high-definition TVs and other electronics.
MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: 13 awesome and scary things in near Earth space

The connector is “robust enough for laptops and tablets; slim enough for mobile phones,” said standards-setting organization USB Implementers Forum in an email statement. The Type-C connectors could replace the current micro-USB 2.0 ports in most of the latest smartphones and tablets, which have different ends and are widely used for recharging.

The Type-C USB 3.1 connector is as thin as micro-USB 2.0 connectors, which could also lead to the development of thinner and sleeker devices. Current USB 3.0 ports in laptops are larger, so thinner slots could lead to smaller products. The USB 3.1 connector will also replace micro-USB 3.0 plugs, which are larger and used in just a handful of devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

The USB 3.1 specification is scheduled to be completed in July and products may be out by the end of the year, a USB-IF spokeswoman said in an email Wednesday.

The new cables will not work on existing USB ports, so the USB-IF is developing separate cables so existing products can connect to products with USB 3.1 ports. Users will have to purchase new devices to take advantage of end-to-end USB 3.1 connections.

USB 3.1 will be slower than Thunderbolt 2.0 connector technology, which is used in computers and peripherals, and can transfer data at 20Gbps. But USB has many advantages over Thunderbolt, including cheaper costs and a wide installation base. Peripherals based on Thunderbolt, which supports PCI-Express and DisplayPort protocols, are still priced at a premium.

Intel, which is leading Thunderbolt development and supports USB, has dismissed the idea of competition between both protocols. Intel has even suggested that USB could be technically used in the same wires alongside Thunderbolt, but that hasn’t happened yet.

USB-IF is talking up the new specification at the Intel Developer Forum this week in Shenzhen, China.

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10 Hot Internet of Things Startups

As Internet connectivity gets embedded into every aspect of our lives, investors, entrepreneurs and engineers are rushing to cash in. Here are 10 hot startups that are poised to shape the future of the Internet of Things (IoT).

As Internet connectivity gets embedded into everything from baby monitors to industrial sensors, investors, entrepreneurs and engineers are rushing to cash in. According to Gartner, Internet of Things (IoT) vendors will earn more than $309 billion by 2020. However, most of those earnings will come from services.

Gartner also estimates that by 2020, the IoT will consist of 26 billion devices. All of those devices, Cisco believes will end up dominating the Internet by 2018. You read that right: In less time than it takes to earn a college degree (much less time these days), machines will communicate over the Internet a heck of a lot more than people do.

With the IoT space in full gold-rush mode, we evaluated more than 70 startups to find 10 that look poised to help shape the future of IoT.

Note: These 10 are listed in alphabetical order and are not ranked.

1. AdhereTech
Why they’re on this list: There are plenty of companies trying to cash in on IoT by tethering it to healthcare. Let’s call it the Internet of Health (IoH). What’s impressive about AdhereTech, though, is that it focuses on a discrete problem and knocks it out of the park with its solution. It’s simple and smart.

Prescription adherence — sticking to your prescribed medication regimen — is one of the biggest problems plaguing medicine. Current levels of adherence are as low as 40 percent for some medications. Poor adherence to appropriate medication therapy has been shown to result in complications, increased healthcare costs, and even death. Medication adherence for patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, asthma and depression, is an even more significant problem, often requiring intervention.

According to AdhereTech, of all medication-related hospital admissions in the United States, 33 to 69 percent are related to poor medication adherence. The resulting costs are approximately $100 billion annually, and as many as 125,000 deaths per year in the U.S. can be attributed to medication non-adherence.

AdhereTech’s pill bottle seeks to increase adherence and reduce the costs associated with missed or haphazard medication dosage. The bottle uses sensors to detect when one pill or one liquid milliliter of medication is removed from the bottle. If a patient hasn’t taken his/her medication, the service reminds them via phone call or text message, as well as with on-bottle lights and chimes. The company’s software also asks patients who skip doses why they got off schedule. In addition to helping people remember, AdhereTech aggregates data anonymously to give a clearer picture of patient adherence overall to pharmaceutical companies and medical practitioners.

Customers: AdhereTech has trials running with Boehringer Ingelheim for a TBD medication, The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for type 2 diabetes medication and Weill Cornell Medical College for HIV medication.

Competitive Landscape: Vitality GlowCap is the most direct competitor for AdhereTech. Other less direct competitors include RXAnte, an analytics company that helps to identify patients most at risk for falling off their prescription regimen, and Proteus Digital Health, which puts tiny digestible sensors inside of pills to give doctors a clearer picture of patient compliance.

2. Chui
What they do: Combine facial recognition with advanced computer vision and machine learning techniques to turn faces into “universal keys.” Chui refers to its solution as “the world’s most intelligent doorbell.”

Why they’re on this list: Home and business security systems are expensive, generate tons of false alarms and really can’t be called “intelligent.”

Chui’s facial recognition technology replaces keys, passwords or codes, allowing you to disarm a security system with facial recognition. Chui emphasizes that our faces are unique, universal and nontransferable. Your features cannot be hacked, nor can they be spied on.

For businesses, or even homes with service people stopping by regularly, Chui also keeps track of who is coming and going, documenting visitors and time-stamping their visits.

Even better, the system also learns as it goes. If a person’s facial appearance changes over time, the system will learn this. It is also able to distinguish between identical twins, and it is able to recognize attempts to fool the system with pictures or videos.

The first application of this system is an “intelligent doorbell.”

You can use it to open your door to invited guests, such as a cleaning service or dog walker, right from your smartphone. You no longer need to hand out keys to service providers. Chui ensures you have complete control over who is entering your home through real-time notifications and the ability to engage in live conversations with visitors.

Customers: In less than four months, Chui says that it has acquired 311 customers. A company spokesperson notes that they have more than doubled their crowdfunding goal ($300,000), selling the devices at $199 per unit.

Competitive Landscape: Chui’s three major competitors are Goji, Skybell (formerly idoorcam) and Doorbot. However, none of the other smart doorbells utilize facial recognition, offering only video connections.

3. Enlighted
Funding: Enlighted’s most recent funding, a $20 million Series C round, closed in 2013. RockPort Capital Partners led the investment round and was joined by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Intel Capital. This brings total funding to date to approximately $36 million.

Why they’re on this list: Lighting is an immense cost to building operators, as well as a large factor for employee comfort.

“Lighting consumes 25-40 percent of commercial office building electricity and is a major factor in worker comfort and productivity, yet more than ninety percent of existing buildings have little more than a wall switch,” said CEO Tushar Dave. “When asked, facility managers tend to identify cost and complexity as the key reasons why they have allowed such waste in their facilities.”

Enlighted has created “people-smart sensors” that gather real-time environmental data and analytics at each light fixture within a building, while networking those sensors in a way that delivers even more value to building owners/operators.

Enlighted takes a slightly different tack to the smart lighting challenge than many of its competitors. The key differentiator of Enlighted’s product suite is the fact that it centers a lot of its control intelligence in the “Enlighted Sensor” devices, which attach to new or existing LED, fluorescent, CFL, or HID light fixtures.

Unlike a typical wireless lighting network node, which tends to connect directly to lighting drivers (for LEDs) or ballasts (for fluorescent or HID lights), Enlighted’s sensors not only control lights, but also monitor light levels, temperature, occupancy and power consumption for the 100 square feet of floor space directly beneath each of them.

That means that each sensor both knows not only what its individual light is doing, but also what it should be doing. In other words, instead of relying on the vagaries of wireless networking architecture to carry data back to a central control platform, come up with preferred control options, and then send those commands back to light fixtures, Enlighted’s nodes can handle most tasks on their own.

In addition to creating innovative lighting sensors, Enlighted is also creating new IoT products within their Enlighted Labs, a testing ground for product ideas. One such product is the Occupancy Sensing App, currently being used at the Enlighted headquarters for potential larger-scale launch. The app detects heat and movement within conference rooms, so that employees can easily look on an app to see which conference rooms are occupied. This cuts down time employees constantly spend circling an office building looking for a space to hold a meeting.

Enlighted is also working on using its sensor data for other things, like integrating their data with building HVAC systems to fine-tune heating and cooling, or to respond to utility demand response calls to shed power use when the grid is under stress.

Customers: LinkedIn, the City of San Jose, Interface Global, Menlo Business Park and Agilent Technology.

Competitive Landscape: Enlighted will compete with Lutron, Watt Stopper, Redwood Systems, Daintree, Adura and Digital Lumens, among others.

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